Some fans of South African top club Orlando Pirates have protested the exclusion of their players, especially Malawian forward Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango, from the list of nominees for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) Awards’ main categories.
According to the Sunday Times of South Africa, fans reacted strongly to the award nominees that were announced last Thursday, after no Pirates players made the cut for the awards slated for tomorrow.
Mhango, who was the joint-top scorer alongside Namibian forward Peter Shalulile, having scored 16 goals apiece, was tipped to be among the list of nominees.
Ironically, Shalulile made the grade for the Player of the Season Award alongside Samir Nurkovic (Kaizer Chiefs), Gaston Sirino and Themba Zwane (both Mamelodi Sundowns).
Reads part of the article: “Fans swiftly took to social media to voice their opinions on the nominations.
“Many fans, especially those of the Buccaneers [Pirates], felt the team played well this season and the players, especially striker Gabadinho Mhango, deserved to be on the list of names for the Player of the Season accolade.”
One of the snapshots read: “Wait, no Mhango in the PSL awards nominations? After his 16 goals? Lol!”
Another one read: “This is a scam! Mhango should have made the list!”
The Orlando Pirates hitman will find solace in the Golden Boot Award which will see him and Shalulile cart home R25 0000 (K1.25 million) each.
He is also in contention for the Goal of the Season Award whose winner will be announced at the same event. The award goes with a R50 000 (about K2.5 million) prize.
Mhango was not available for comment yesterday. Last month, the South Africa Football Journalists Association also snubbed the Flames forward for its similar award.
Revered former Flames striker Esau ‘Black Mamba’ Kanyenda and football analyst Kelvin Moyo said while Mhango might have been betrayed by lack of consistency—especially when he went on a seven-game goal drought—he deserved a nomination.
“I think it could be because his form only picked when Pirates appointed German coach [Josef Zinnbauer] before it slumped when the league resumed, but I feel he still deserved to be among the nominees,” said Kanyenda, who missed the 2002 PSL Golden Boot Award by a whisker after scoring a goal short of the eventual winner Gilbert Mushangazhike.
On his part, Moyo said: “His form slumped in the final phase of the league. He was under pressure such that his form deepened and he nearly lost the race for the golden boot. But that said, in all fairness, he deserved to be among the nominees.”